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The 'good ole days' of deer hunting are happening right now in the State of Kentucky

The 'good ole days' of deer hunting are happening right now in the State of Kentucky

Kentucky... where the deer are plentiful, permits can be easily obtained, and the state produces several trophy class bucks each year.

With more deer here per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., Kentucky is a mecca for hunters. 

Every year, American hunters, like their ancestors, head for the woods and rivers to harvest America's bountiful supply of game and put fresh meat on the family dinner table. And in Kentucky, many of those hunters also help feed the hungry in their communities by donating to organizations such as Hunters for the Hungry.

The white-tailed deer is the most sought after big game animal in North America. Whitetails were abundant in our country when European settlers first arrived. By 1900, however, uncontrolled hunting had reduced the U.S. white-tailed deer population to around 300,000. The deer population has since rebounded as a result of strict hunting laws, intensive reestablishment and restoration efforts, and changing habitat to favor deer. Today, it is hard to imagine white-tailed deer populations not being abundant. [1]

The Golden Triangle

Some of the highest deer densities in the state are within a geographic area often referred to as The Golden Triangle. This is a section encompassing the Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky areas. This area is heavily populated and even has one of the highest densities of hunters. 

Owen County tops the list as Kentucky’s top deer producer. Hunters have checked in over 3,000 deer each of the past 15 seasons. No other county in Kentucky has ever approached that level of deer harvest, year after year. [2] 

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KY-Fish-Wildlife-logo.jpgKentucky Hunting Rules & Regulations

 Following is information provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife. For complete rules and regulations, please see this link. [3]

STATEWIDE DEER PERMIT

All deer hunters, unless license exempt, must first buy and carry proof of purchasing an Annual Hunting License and a Statewide Deer Permit while deer hunting. The permit allows a hunter to take two deer: one antlered and one antlerless, or two antlerless. It does not matter if the antlered or antlerless deer is taken first.

ADDITIONAL DEER PERMIT

To take more than two deer, an Additional Deer Permit must be purchased. The Additional Deer Permit is valid for deer of either sex. The Additional Deer Permit allows a hunter to take up to two additional deer beyond those allowed by the statewide permit in the following combinations: one antlered and one antlerless, or two antlerless. Regardless of what permit a deer hunter carries, the statewide season limit for antlered deer is one per hunter. The Additional Deer Permit is not valid unless the hunter has first purchased an annual hunting license and Statewide Deer Permit and is able to show proof of that in the field. A Statewide or Additional Deer Permit may be used on public and private land, and during some quota hunts.

HUNTING EQUIPMENT RESTRICTIONS

MODERN GUN SEASON

During modern gun deer season, hunters may hunt with modern firearms, muzzleloaders, and archery and crossbow equipment, and must follow season restrictions, zone guidelines and other hunting requirements. All hunters, including archery and crossbow hunters, and persons accompanying hunters, must wear hunter orange clothing during modern gun season. Persons ages 15 and under hunting deer with a firearm must be accompanied by an adult who shall be in a position to take immediate control of the youth's firearm at all times.

ARCHERY SEASON

Hunters using archery equipment during a deer firearms season must follow all firearm season restrictions, zone guidelines and other hunting requirements, and must wear hunter orange clothing. The only exception is on state owned or managed WMAs where firearms hunting for deer or elk is prohibited.

CROSSBOW SEASON

Hunters using crossbows during a deer firearms season must follow all firearm season restrictions, zone guidelines and other hunting requirements, and must wear hunter orange clothing. The only exception is on state owned or managed WMAs where firearms hunting for deer or elk is prohibited.

New: A legal resident hunter age 65 years or older may hunt deer with a crossbow from the first Saturday in September through the third Monday in January.

MUZZLELOADER SEASON

Muzzleloaders, archery and crossbow equipment may be used during this season.All hunters must comply with the hunter orange clothing law. Youths ages 15 and under hunting deer with a muzzleloader must be accompanied by an adult who shall remain able and in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s muzzleloader at all times.

TREE STANDS

Construction and use of tree stands on private lands is regulated by landowners.

LEGAL HUNTING EQUIPMENT

FIREARMS EQUIPMENT

  • Any caliber centerfire rifle or centerfire handgun.

  • Rifle or handgun magazines may not be capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

  • Rifles or handguns may not be fully-automatic (capable of firing more than one round with one trigger pull).

  • Full metal jacketed or tracer bullet ammunition is prohibited

  • Shotguns, no larger than 10-gauge, shooting slug ammunition only (includes saboted bullets).

  • Muzzleloading rifles, handguns, or shotguns shooting round balls, conical bullets, or saboted bullets

LEGAL ARCHERY EQUIPMENT

  • Longbows, recurves and compound bows of any draw weight (no minimum).

  • Wood, carbon or metal arrows, but arrows may not be chemically-treated.

  • Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” wide (when blades extended), but broadheads may not be barbed, or chemically-treated.

LEGAL CROSSBOW EQUIPMENT

  • Crossbows of any draw weight (no minimum), with a working safety.

  • Wood, carbon or metal arrows (bolts), but arrows (bolts) may not be chemically treated.

  • Fixed blade or mechanical broadheads at least 7/8” (when blades extended), but broadheads may not be barbed, or chemically treated.

LEGAL MUZZLELOADING EQUIPMENT

  • Muzzeloading rifles or handguns of any caliber, with flint or percussion ignition (including in-lines), shooting round balls, conical bullets or saboted bullets.

  • Muzzleloading firearms equipped with open sights or telescopic sights (scopes).

  • Muzzleloading shotguns no larger than 10-gauge, shooting round balls, conical bullets or saboted bullets.

Going with a Guide

For the best chance to bag one of Kentucky's finest whitetails, choose a great guide who knows the land like he knows the back of his hand and who studies the patterns of behavior of the deer in his locality.

Check our online directory of fine guides and outfitters and hook up with one who's just right for you.

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Resources:

[1] Game and Fish Magazine. Paul Moore, September 1, 2015. "Kentucky Deer Forecast for 2015"
[2] Kentucky Forward. Art Lander, October 7, 2015. "Owen County's the Shining Jewel in Golden Triangle Deer Harvest"
[3] Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife

This article was contributed by
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